It takes a lot to stop Hong Kong business. Typhoons, floods and even a dramatic handover from colonialists to communists have all failed. But yesterday, as the bodies of eight Hong Kong tourists killed during the Manila hostage drama returned home, the city feel quiet for three minutes silence.
Hong Kong has been deeply shocked by the deaths in Manila and the mood in the city remains sombre. Grief has also mixed with anger as many Hong Kongers question both how the raid went so wrong and why the Philippine government seemingly ignored requests from its Hong Kong counterpart for information. While ultimate blame lies with the disgruntled ex cop who executed the hostages, the bumbling attempt by the Manila police to storm the bus, who were subsequently held at bay for more than an hour, has led Hong Kongers to question if a more professional and considered approach may have yielded a more positive ending. Pictures of police posing in front of the bullet strewn bus have also been met with vitriol while tempers have flared over the fact that despite attempts by Chief Executive Donald Tsang to speak with Philippine President Aquino, he was unable to do so until after the tragedy had unfolded. The Aquino administration's attempts to deflect the accusations by claiming that Tsang didn't connect on the correct phone line have been met with incredulity in Hong Kong.
As the burials take place over the coming week Hong Kong will continue to grieve, but also press for answers. Until it gets them, anger is likely to grow.
For a view from the Philippines, try Michael Aquino's blog, our Guide to South East Asia.